- Posted April 13, 2014 by
Watertown, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
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Does Raising the Minimum Wage Help U.S. and State Governments More Than It Helps Workers?
On its face value, workers should make more an hour. Were it not for CEOs being paid in stock options nowadays, which causes them to direct their efforts to increase share prices, rather than considering other important facets of their company's growth, wages would have kept pace with things like inflation and productivity of the last thirty years.
Minimum wage should be at $22 an hour and all other wages would be higher.
By keeping wages low, CEOs can squeeze out more share value and dividends for those that can afford to invest in their company and benefit themselves by their options being worth much more.
Workers have not benefited from their efforts to increase their company's productivity.
So while we have seen corporations profits soar on the backs of their unrewarded workers, taxes on those profits have not kept pace because you know the spiel.
The long story, typically intended as an excuse has been viewed by progressives with skepticism and contempt.
The 'Job Creators' are creating good paying jobs in the United States but have been given tax breaks by the Federal Government as though they were doing this with the trillions they have sitting on the sidelines or invested in China where labor is cheap and rules are few.
Now, the U.S. Government, mostly Democrats, has an election year strategy to take back the U.S. House of Representatives- raise the minimum wage!
It sound great and looks terrific on paper especially with the GOP using the 'failure of Obamacare' to undermine races in 'purple' House and Senate districts.
Everyone but Republicans supports a raise in the minimum wage. Right?
But who does a raise to the minimum wage help the most?
Many low wage workers currently receive S.N.A.P. benefits or food stamps. Will they still qualify when they are making $10.10 an hour rather than $7.25?
Will they still qualify for Medicaid? Housing assistance? Will they still get Earned Income Credit on their tax returns?
The policy guys in Washington, those that crunch the numbers, say that by raising the minimum wage, the Federal Government will save $50 billion on food stamps over the next ten years.
Now that's half of what Rep. Paul Ryan is proposing to cut from food stamps in his budget, but still a substancial savings to the U.S. if a minimum wage hike can get traction and be pushed through Congress at this time.
You'd think that the GOP would be supportive of something that would reduce the federal deficit and the national debt, but apparently not when they see raising the minimum wage as a back door attempt to make corporations pay more of their share in 'taxes'.
The savings on food stamps is just the tip of the benefit a minimum wage hike would be to the U.S. Government.
Our government isn't talking about giving the low wage workers abreak on their taxes are they?
Won't $10.10 an hour workers pay more in taxes with higher wages?
The higher wage may keep them from qualifying for Earned Income Credit on their State and Federal Taxes.
They may not qualify for subsidies for their health care insurance through the exchanges and Obamacare. Grants and low income college loans may not be as available.
So when you weigh a raise in the minimum wage against keeping the wages lower, you'd think that Republicans would be 'all for it' except that those that would pay some of the savings to the Federal and State Governments would be corporations in an indirect way.
But workers now earning higher wages would pay the lion's share of the deficit reductions with higher taxes on more income, qualifying for less 'entitlement' programs from government and being unable to receive as much back in Earned Income Credit.
This would seem to be a great 'compromise' for Republicans and Democrats if the right understood the meaning of that word. But, no.
The GOP says that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs.
If anything, the GOP, better than anyone, should understand the concept of 'job killing legislation' or the lack there of.
But since corporations have benefited the most from the economic recovery on Wall Street over the last 6 years, giving their workers a raise would be seen as solving two challenges for their image- not that corporations give a damn about their image when it doesn't relate to selling their product or service, but indirectly, giving workers a raise does just that.
Wal-Mart has taken some heat for the fact that their workers are food stamp reliant at the same time the public sees the lavish lifestyles of Wal-Mart's management, investors, and owners.
You'd think that Wal-Mart would jump at the opportunity the Democrats are offering them to fix their image by raising their workers out of poverty with an increase to the minimum wage.
Corporations have enjoyed some really great tax incentives from government. Is it time for them to give a little back to the people and country that makes it possible for them to do so well?
So who benefits the most from a raise to the minimum wage- workers or government?
If our government was asking for this well overdue relief for American workers because they honestly believed that government was there to keep the playing field level and that workers deserved more money because costs for food and everything else is rising, I'd applaud their efforts.
If government used this opportunity when wages were raised to address the tax system that low wage workers find onerous to upward mobility and made the necessary adjustments to the Earned Income Credit, income levels that qualify a family for subsidies for healthcare, and made adjustments to all other federal programs that an increase of income would affect a family's ability to send their children to college or anything else families face these days, I would be in favor of a minimum wage increase.
But to raise the minimum wage without taking into consideration all the other programs and service this increase would affect for the average family, would be just as poorly designed legislation as was Obamacare without including a public option that would have truly offered competition to private insurers.
Workers deserve a raise.
But like so many state lottery winners find, that the Government giveth and then the government wants their cut from every perceived benevolence.
Politicians should enact legislation that truly helps their constituents and have that interest uppermost in mind as they do rather than first thinking how much this will save the government on food stamp expenditures and payouts for healthcare subsidies to low income wage earners.
Is that too much to ask from our Representatives?